About the communionware
We are a family business located in Northeast Ohio, USA - just outside of Akron. We specialize in hand-crafted stoneware communion ware for the Lord's Table. Our wheel-thrown (not molded) communion vessels are made with care by hand, one at a time, beginning with a lump of clay on the potter's wheel. Lead-free and safe, they are crafted with the hope that they will be used in God's service, and cherished forever.
Now - I realize that no one has asked me to preach a sermon. Still, I feel that I should try to address the question of why I make communion sets, and why I feel it is important work, even though expressing such things does not come especially easy for me. The most important thing is that I never attempt to make the communion pieces alone; it is always with prayer. It is always with the remembrance of the events surrounding the original Lord's Supper. I try to imagine that I am making the pottery for that supper, though since we all possess the knowledge of what the next several days held for that group at the table, it is sometimes a painful task to do so. I have been led, though, to do this work, and I find it to be satisfying and refreshing. It gives me a sense of peace and also a feeling of usefulness.
It's also important to us to keep the cost as low as possible for our customers. We try to be good stewards of God's gifts ourselves and know that the financial resources of churches and clergy are precious and must be used judiciously. So we do our very best to keep the price of communion pottery affordable. This consideration is manifested in the simplicity of our designs. Avoiding excessive decoration means not only that time is not wasted in producing the pottery, but also that the function is not obscured or the simple nature of the pottery elevated unnecessarily. The communion service is not about the pottery after all, and we need to make that distinction by keeping it understated, yet handsome and expressive.
Below is a stewardship article I wrote about Jeremiah's potter for our church newsletter a few years ago. Maybe these words will help to let you know me a little better.
Thanks so much for visiting our website and for taking the time to read a little bit about my ideas and my work.
Newsletter article, 10/97:
DO WHAT YOU DO
There are times when it becomes especially difficult to try to do my best. And I sometimes wonder whether the task at hand is the real thing, or if I should be on another track entirely. It helps, at times like that, to rest on the Spirit, by reminding myself of Jeremiah's potter (Jeremiah 18:1-6.) The main focus of that story, if you remember, is on Jeremiah's inspired understanding of God's will, resulting from what he observed at the potter's house. However, I'd like to direct your attention to the potter himself.
There he was, presumably minding his own business, making his pots - pulling 'em up, smashing 'em down, starting over, and over again, more than usual. It had been a rough day. The wheel seemed wobbly and he was tired of kicking. The clay was too wet and lumpy. His tools needed sharpening. And then there were the customers. One guy just stood there for a long time and said nothing. This stranger watched him work and re-work a lump of clay, then got an excited look on his face and ran out the door. Didn't buy a thing. Some days are like that; you do what you can.
Think about that potter! We don't know his name, or what kind of pots he made, or anything about him except that there he was, on that particular day, doing what he knew how to do best. It certainly made a big impression on Jeremiah - the whole episode was written up in God's own Book, and it became a famous illustration of the power and mercy of God. God used him; he was important. And generations have learned from his example. I wonder if he ever suspected. In the Spirit, do what you do.
We are all part of the same story. If we listen carefully, we are made aware of our own unique talents and gifts. If we choose to acknowledge and utilize them, and express our gratitude for them, we can sense that we are on the right track, following God's plan. We are dependent on the Spirit, and empowered by it. If we rebel against those special gifts, either by not trusting to use them or by failing to express our thanks, then we fall short of God's expectations. Giving and receiving - it's all connected. It's one thing, really. It's what God had planned. In doing both, with God's guidance, and acknowledging God's sustaining hand in the process, it comes quite naturally, doesn't it. Do what you do - what you were given to do. Trust. Give and Be - everything that you and God alone know you should.
- Debra Ocepek